Bulgaria wants Brussels to Buy Out its Unneeded Vaccines against COVID-19

Society » HEALTH | March 14, 2023, Tuesday // 16:40
Bulgaria: Bulgaria wants Brussels to Buy Out its Unneeded Vaccines against COVID-19 @Pixabay

Bulgaria, Poland, Lithuania and Hungary insist on renegotiating the conditions for the supply of Pfizer's vaccines against COVID-19, according to a joint statement of their health ministers, quoted by the BTA correspondent in Brussels.

According to the announcement, they submitted their position to the EU Council of Health Ministers, which is meeting on Tuesday in Brussels.

According to the four health ministers, the European Commission "should look for opportunities for further negotiations, especially on payments for missed deliveries, to reduce the number of agreed doses or to take the initiative itself and buy the surplus to donate to regions in need".

"We call on the EC, acting on our behalf, to negotiate a new, fairer deal in the public interest," the statement said, explaining that "this necessitates a significant reduction in the number of doses based on the quantities required by countries".

"We do not agree with unwanted supplies that exceed the needs of the countries," added the statement quoted by BTA.

The position expresses concern about the proposals made for a new addition to the agreement for the supply of the vaccine from Pfizer/Biontech, with whose manufacturer the EU has a contract for 2022-2023 to provide up to 1.8 billion doses.

According to the four ministers, these proposals do not represent a final and fair solution to the problems with the surplus of vaccines and do not meet the needs of health systems and citizens, as well as the financial interests of EU countries, reports BTA.

"Acknowledging that some countries wish to receive all the agreed doses, the ministers note that their opposition to the proposals will not affect the rest of the European countries," said the position of the four countries.

An appeal is also made to the company producing the vaccine "to assume its responsibility to the citizens of the EU and to act in good faith for a solution that is fair to all, in the name of the common good, not only of business interest".

The text of the submitted position differs from the preliminary request of Bulgarian Health Minister Asen Medzhidiev that he will request the termination of the contract for the import of vaccines for COVID-19, as well as his threat that he will no longer pay Pfizer for those delivered to Bulgaria doses under the contract with the European Commission.

Medzhidiev stated at the beginning of March that he considers vaccines to be ineffective against the new variants of COVID-19 and therefore unnecessary for the Bulgarian health system.

This claim was refuted by a spokesperson for the European Commission, who assured that the vaccines approved by the EU work to prevent the severe course of the infection and death from the complications of the coronavirus infection.

The spokesman for the European Commission said last week that the institution is already negotiating with the manufacturer on the timing of the deliveries of the vaccines with the manufacturer "Pfizer" to meet the new needs of the countries. At the same time, he pointed out that the European Commission did not receive a mandate from the member states to seek interruption of the supply contracts and reminded that non-compliance is related to financial compensation.

EU health ministers are not expected to make a decision on Tuesday on the position submitted by Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Lithuania.

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Tags: vaccines, COVID-19, Bulgaria, health

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